AP NEWS

Rodriquez defense wants $20K for expert witnesses

April 1, 2019

Attorneys for a Lake Havasu City woman accused in the death of her 2-year-old daughter are requesting $20,000 in court funding to provide expert witnesses for her defense.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe will hold an April 9 hearing to discuss the matter, which could provide a medical doctor and a criminal forensic psychologist to testify in defense of 26-year-old Brittany Rodriquez.

Rodriquez was arrested last January on charges of first degree murder and child abuse when her daughter, Gabriella Lamorie, died as the alleged result of physical abuse rendered by the victim’s father, co-defendant 22-year-old Andrew Lamorie, also of Havasu.

According to police, Rodriquez told detectives that Lamorie had subjected Gabriella to physical abuse, but Gabriella wasn’t Lamorie’s only alleged victim. During interviews with detectives, Rodriquez and members of her extended family said Lamorie had subjected Rodriquez to physical abuse on multiple occasions.

Attorneys for Rodriquez hope to secure testimony by California-based forensic psychologist Martin H. Williams, to describe symptoms of battered women syndrome as they apply to Rodriquez, and how such a perspective may explain Rodriquez’s actions or lack of action to prevent the victim’s death.

Describing years of alleged physical, mental and emotional abuse by Lamorie won’t be cheap, however. Williams’ services could cost the county $530 per hour, for which Rodriquez’s defense is requesting $10,000.

The remaining $10,000 in requested funds for Rodriquez’s defense would hire the services of Phillip Resnick, a medical doctor who could provide expert testimony on the cause of Gabriella’s death – which Clark County medical examiners last year ruled to have been caused by blunt force trauma. Resnick will charge about $465 per hour for his services.

Emergency first responders were called to the defendants’ home Jan. 11, 2018, after receiving reports that the victim was found unconscious and barely breathing on the floor. Paramedics transported Gabriella Lamorie to Lake Havasu Regional Medical Center, and the victim was later flown to a Las Vegas hospital for treatment of her injuries. According to police, medical staff said Gabriella’s injuries were consistent with physical abuse, including bruises to her face and head, intestinal trauma and bleeding in her brain. Medical staff also said the child was severely malnourished, and was about half the size of a normal 2-year-old girl. Even if the child survived, according to police, she would never have lived a normal life.

Lamorie was initially arrested on charges of felony aggravated assault, child abuse, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was later charged with one count of animal cruelty when officers located a dog in his home with a serious, untreated leg injury. Rodriquez was arrested on charges of felony child abuse and first degree murder days later, after the victim was disconnected from life support.

Rodriquez allegedly told detectives she “should have done more” to protect the victim from Lamorie. Both Rodriquez and Lamorie allegedly told police that Gabriella was a “finicky” eater, and would sometimes refuse to eat at all. Lamorie and Rodriquez were seen dining with their older daughter at a Havasu restaurant hours before the victim’s death.

Lamorie is scheduled to appear for a change of plea hearing April 9. He and Rodriquez were initially offered an agreement by prosecutors in which one or both would plead guilty to charges of murder, and accept a sentence of 25 years in prison without the possibility of early release. Neither has accepted that offer as of Friday.

Lamorie and Rodriquez are scheduled to stand trial Nov. 5 in Mohave County Superior Court.